Did an ‘award winning’ journalist for The Times just produce pure fiction?
Hezbollah Media Office deny Anthony Lloyd’s claims to have interviewed a former commander.
Reality is an aspect of property. It must be seized. And investigative journalism is the noble art of seizing reality back from the powerful.
Anthony Lloyd is a veteran war correspondent with The Times. According to The Times, Lloyd is “among the most experienced war correspondents of his generation”. He began reporting for The Times in Bosnia 1993 and has reported allegedly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. He is a winner of fourteen major press awards and has three times been named Foreign Reporter of the Year.
According to the Hezbollah Media Office, Lloyd has lied to the British public and demonstrated “serious professional and ethical decadence”.
In an article published on the 10th November, Lloyd claims to have interviewed “a veteran field commander of the Iran-backed militia” – in other less biased words, a veteran Hezbollah commander. Lloyd writes:
What he represents is in the eye of the beholder. To some, the 56-year-old — known by the alias “Ali”, a senior Hezbollah field commander and one of the organisation’s original members — is a hero. To others he is a terrorist and hostage-taker.
According to Lloyd, “the commander, who as a teenage fighter with Hezbollah was one of the kidnap group that seized the journalist Terry Anderson in Beirut in 1985 and guarded the American hostage for two years of his six-year captivity.”
The article does not present anything that is not already public knowledge gleaned from the two speeches of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah’s speeches but it maintains the narrative of the Iranian role in managing Hezbollah and events on the ground. This claim has been countered recently by Iranian academic and analyst Seyed Mohammad Marandi on X:
Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad aren’t “Iranian proxies.” They are anti-imperialist national liberation organizations and they are Iran’s allies. Hezbollah expelled the apartheid regime from Lebanon. Hamas and Islamic Jihad fight against a barbaric and illegitimate colonizer.
Lloyd also claims that ‘Ali’ and Hezbollah are interfering with the Hamas decision making process, particularly over the Israeli hostages. This interference is something that Nasrallah has taken great pains to distance Hezbollah from, so Lloyd appears to be deliberately trying to convey that Iran and their “proxy” Hezbollah are running things on the ground in occupied Palestine and southern Lebanon. This is palpably not true but plays into the Western playbook of holding Iran responsible for the recent escalation:
“We don’t need hostages when we have missiles. But as we see the pressure growing on Israel from the outside world to stop its bombardment, we in turn are pressurising Hamas not to respond to Israeli demands to their hostages unconditionally,” Ali said. “The Israelis can forget it!”
Basically Lloyd’s article is a puff piece with no substantial information presented but if the Hezbollah Media Office claim is correct – Lloyd has entirely fabricated the interview to manipulate public opinion and The Times has ignored all editorial due diligence to publish the article. As the Hezbollah media office wrote (translated from Arabic):
“Hezbollah’s media relations confirm that the alleged interview is nothing but a cheap fabrication, a figment of the writer’s imagination and false claims, and strongly denies that the aforementioned journalist originally conducted an interview with an official in addition to what was stated in it and falsely attributed to him, and regrets the dangerous professional and ethical decline, which this newspaper and a large number of Western media outlets strayed away from what they claimed of professionalism, objectivity, accuracy and impartiality, claims that were completely dropped during the coverage of the Zionist aggression against Gaza and Lebanon.”
I have reached out to Lloyd on X and emailed The Times for comment. Neither has responded.
Lloyd’s shady history on Syria
Lloyd has a history of covering for UK globalist foreign policy globally including in Syria. Dr. Piers Robinson is the founder of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media that has extensively reported on the British government-led ‘chemical weapon’ staged events in Syria. The most glaring of these being Douma 2018 that was used as justification for the UK, US and France to unlawfully bomb Damascus City and suburbs.
Robinson is also involved with the Berlin Group 21 that has as its mission statement:
The Berlin Group 21 (BG21) has been formed for the sole purpose of giving the public an opportunity to follow developments regarding the controversy over the OPCW investigation of alleged chemical weapons use in Douma (Syria). A Statement of Concern, signed by internationally known persons, was published on 12 March 2021. The full text can be seen on our homepage.
The Statement is addressed to the OPCW Director-General Arias at the organization’s headquarters in the Hague. BG21 has shared the Statement with all 193 OPCW member states. The President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, the President of the UN Security Council for March, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other UN entities have received copies of the Statement.
The Berlin Group’s central objectives are to uphold the truth, restore the credibility of the OPCW through ensuring that is an independent, objective and scientifically rigorous organisation and, most importantly, to prevent further misery for the Syrian people and all those suffering in war.
The Group was established by José Bustani, first Director-General of OPCW, Professor Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University and Hans-C. von Sponeck, Former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
The BG21 report – A Review of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission Report into the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in Douma, Syria, April 2018: Evidence of Manipulation, Bias and Censorship – is available here.
This report was submitted to Members of European Parliament, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace.
When I spoke with Robinson about journalist Anthony Lloyd, he gave me the following summary of Lloyd’s involvement in the MI6 concoction of evidence of “chemical weapon” attacks in Syria that has sustained the regime change war against the Syrian people since 2011.
Anthony Lloyd has also been involved in the creation and maintenance of Western propaganda regarding alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
Former British Military officer, Hamish de Bretton Gordon, revealed in a Wilton Park podcast that in 2013 he had helped Lloyd with respect to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Sheikh Maqsoud ( a Kurdish area of northern Aleppo).
“and I helped the Times, a chap called Anthony Lloyd … to cover this story, and tried to get samples back to the UK for analysis, I won’t go into the details of that”
During this period, two British newspapers reported on an MI6 sample-gathering operation in Syria and the then British Prime Minister David Cameroon is reported to have referred to this alleged incident noting that [samples] had been tested at the UK’s Porton Down laboratory from Sheikh Maqsoud and that:
“we believe the scale of the use is sanctioned by the Assad regime..that is the picture described to me by the joint intelligence committee”
Controversy over alleged chemical weapons attack was to later intensify following the 2018 alleged attack in Douma, when OPCW scientists involved with an investigation blew the whistle on how the investigation had been distorted so as to reach a pre-ordained conclusion blaming Syria.
The Times of London, Lloyd’s employer, have maintained a vicious smear campaign against journalists and academics questioning the Douma events.”
Hamish de Bretton Gordon has been instrumental in the control of narratives on Syria related to the chemical weapon claims. It is almost certain that he has connections to British intelligence agencies and Lloyd’s involvement in 2013 would suggest that he is also another tool in the UK regime’s media manipulation network.
One of the series of articles published by The Times on one day – here they cropped a photo of myself with a US Peace delegation meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in 2016.
As Robinson mentioned, The Times was heavily involved in a concerted effort by British legacy media to discredit, smear and disappear dissenting voices on the Syria narrative. In 2018 a series of articles was printed by The Times on one day – front-page and center page in an unprecedented campaign to present those academic and journalist voices as “Assad apologists”.
The Wilton Park recording of HdBG letting slip Lloyd’s involvement in “collecting samples” was blocked shortly after the BG21 report was circulated to EU member states – according to Robinson. The recording had been downloaded and transcribed and is still available as evidence.
There is an interview with Lloyd at the time on the BBC. Despite Lloyd’s vivid claims on the BBC – the UN-OPCW mission would *not* go on to corroborate this alleged chemical weapons attack. This alone must raise serious questions about the validity of Lloyd’s ‘evidence’ and his involvement in trying to shill for US/UK-led military intervention even before the 2013 alleged Ghouta chemical attacks.
The Times attacks on Robinson have continued even today. Robinson believes that this is related to the discovery of Lloyd’s involvement with HdBG in the MI6 sample gathering operation in 2013 in the run-up to the Ghouta operation later in 2013 that has also been rigorously investigated by a group of researchers. PDF here and video below:
Robinson wrote about the latest Times-related attack at his Substack – The American Political Science Association Annual Convention 2023, Suppression of Academic Debate on Disinformation, and the continued war against accountability at the OPCW.
In a remarkable and brazen assault on academic freedom, a UK-based academic embarked upon a campaign to remove two academics who had been invited to present at a roundtable on disinformation at the 2023 Annual Convention of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The campaign was unsuccessful but several of the panelists abandoned the panel due to the controversy, five remained.
Earlier this year myself and Professor Oliver Boyd Barrett were invited by Professors Hans Klein (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Clifford Bob (Duquesne University) to participate in the roundtable discuss about censorship which sought to bring together scholars from a wide variety of perspectives in order to discuss whether censorship regimes built around the idea of ‘disinformation’ presented a cure that was worse than the disease. Professor Boyd-Barrett and myself were invited precisely because we are well known as academics who have been attacked and denigrated for presenting arguments and analysis that challenged mainstream thinking.
I also write extensively about the colonial media campaign of harassment and smear that began in earnest in 2018 in this article for Mint Press News in 2019 – ‘After his mysterious death, the media scrambles to get its story straight about White Helmet founder James Le Mesurier.
The most compelling evidence that this campaign may have been orchestrated by Le Mesurier and Winberg came from Oliver Kamm, a Times newspaper columnist and online bully with a history of endorsing and protecting British neo-colonialism and globalist policies worldwide, including in the former Yugoslavia and Libya.
Two days after Le Mesurier died, Kamm tweeted that, in 2018, Le Mesurier had “reached out to this newspaper to urge us” to keep on the case of “academics at UK universities” who were confronting Le Mesurier with the inconvenient facts surrounding the alleged chemical attacks in Syria. Kamm later deleted those tweets.
The Times has been at the core of the campaign of censorship and blatant intimidation and harassment of dissidents trying to expose the truth of the UK government, media and intelligence agencies’ involvement in maintaining the regime change war in Syria – the production of staged chemical weapon events to criminalise the Syrian government and allies.
Therefore if indeed Lloyd has lied about an interview with an Hezbollah commander, denied categorically by Hezbollah, it appears it would not be the first time.